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European and International Intellectual Property Law


Course Description:
The course provides an introduction to the European legal framework governing trademark, patent, copyright and design right law, and the substantive requirements and characteristics of each of these forms of protection. The emerging harmonised European law of trade secrets is also dealt with, as is the upcoming unitary patent. The emphasis in the course is on the practical: students will learn how to recognise what aspects of a product are capable of being protected, and understand the advantages and limitations of the various forms of protection available. The enforcement of European IP rights is also covered.

Course Objectives:
Objectives of the course:
The primary objective of this course is to provide students with sufficient practical and theoretical knowledge and background of European intellectual property law to allow them to recognise and identify whether and to what extent the tangible and intangible business assets they may come into contact with in a business environment are protectable by means of intellectual property rights. In addition to gaining an understanding of the characteristics and functions of intellectual property rights, students will learn how intellectual property rights can be obtained and enforced in practice.
Achievement levels:
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:
Knowledge and comprehension:
Acquiring knowledge of the main types of intellectual property protection.
Understanding the justifications advanced for intellectual property protection.
Understanding the international legal framework governing intellectual property protection. Understanding of currently newsworthy topics in the area, including the emergence of a harmonised approach to trade secret protection in Europe, and the future unitary patent.
Students will be able to describe and explain the different types of IP protection.
Students will be able to apply their knowledge to identify and solve problems arising in the IP area.
Students will be able to determine whether a given asset or product is protectable by IP law and to explain their analysis from first principles.
Students are able to write an academic paper relating to one of the subjects discussed during the course.
Programme Final Qualifications:
The following learning outcomes apply with regard to the course:
P.F.Q. = 2,4,5,6 & 8
Mode of Instruction:
Students are expected to attend interactive lectures and seminars totaling 16 hours over five weeks. For each lecture, students are required to read the materials provided in the reader and on Blackboard.
Week 1: General introduction and introduction to European patent law
Week 2: Copyright law
Week 3: Trademark law
Week 4: Patent law; trade secrets;
Week 5: Enforcement tools; Course Overview


Europa Institute
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden
Phone: 071-527 7760
Sheena Bruce,
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 7821

** Lecturer(s): **
Mr. Simon Dack, Prof. Dirk Visser, Charlotte Vrendenbarg

Course Materials
J. Pila and P. Torremans, European Intellectual Property Law, , January 2016, Oxford University Press.
P.A.C.E. van der Kooij and D.J.G. Visser, EU IP Law. A short introduction to European Intellectual Property Law, 2017 (e-version available for students to download.

  • Course Reader can be downloaded from blackboard


Academic paper (in teams): 20%
Final Examination: 80%

Course requirements

  • Master degree


  • Sheena Bruce, – Phone: +31 (0)71 527 7821